WRAP IT UP
Take your gifts from drab to fabulous with a few simple tips
Vicky Katz Whitaker
Creators News Service
You've shopped till you dropped. Now comes the real challenge: Wrapping all those holiday presents.
It's all a matter of organization and having the right tools to make the job easier, the experts say.
Start with a sharp pair of scissors, said Curtis Mann, a much-in-demand gift wrapper at Macy's flagship Herald Square store. With this tool, you'll spend less time cutting the paper.
Mann should know -- between the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas, he and his staff will wrap 18,000 gift packages.
Making sure you have enough supplies before you begin is a must, said Emily Stadtmueller, associate product manager for Hallmark Gift Wrap. Even the most organized wrappers "still run out of supplies or forget items while wrapping," she said.
Stadtmueller's basic tools for wrapping are:
* A large table
When it comes to wrapping, there are certain tips that are essential to putting things together so everything looks neat and clean. Here are Mann's tricks of the trade:
* Pick the right size box.
* Always measure how much wrapping paper you will need by putting the box in the middle of the paper and measuring first before you cut.
* Cut on straight edges for the corners. Fold under and secure it with double-sided tape so each side looks neat and professional.
Want to duplicate the technique that seasoned department store wrappers use to make the perfect bow? "First, wrap a piece of ribbon around the length of the center part of the package and secure with double-sided tape at the top of the box," Mann said. "Next, cut seven inches of ribbon. Use the ribbon to tie a bow by first going over and then under like tying a shoe lace."
Do this again in the opposite direction and you will have a four-loop bow. "If you'd like the bow to be larger, repeat until it looks exactly as you want," he said.
Imagine holiday wrapping paper for which you need no tape and gift bags that sound an alarm if little ones -- and some big ones -- try to sneak a peek at their holiday presents. Both new Hallmark products are available exclusively at Hallmark Gold Crown stores.
Adhesive Gift Wrap, $4.99 per 25 square foot roll in six holiday designs, is coated on one side with a low-tack adhesive that's sticky enough to create clean lines and crisp folds but doesn't leave any residue on the gift. There's no backing to peel off, so Adhesive Gift Wrap sticks to itself when rolled up, making storage simple.
Hallmark's new Peekbusters bags have a sensory detector that sets off an alarm of funny noises when someone tries to peek at their presents. The bags range in size and include noises that sound like car alarms and even one that features Santa Claus kindly but firmly telling the peeker to "step away from the bag."
Hallmark is also featuring a Christmas collection of FunZips, its popular pull-to-open boxes. For the holidays, a Christmas tree, Snowman, and Reindeer boxes have been added.
Odd size packages like toy guitars, dollhouses or bikes are a challenge, experts said, although the new adhesive paper may be one way to improve things. Online sources like www.diylife.com can take you step-by-step through the wrapping process.
For big items like a tricycle, it suggests creating a trail of wrapped clues. By the time they've been opened, the child won't care if the actual gift is unwrapped.
One online company, Wrap Your Gift In Adventure (www.giftventure.com) creates personalized clues to your hidden gift in game and puzzle-laced holiday letters that you or the company mails at intervals.